friday night's critical mass was apparently on the 11 o'clock news on channel 10. film crews and photographers were at government center for the beginning of the ride interviewing people and snapping pics of people and they're bikes. this individual was quite successful in eluding such paparazzi. yes!!!
not so great was my falling behind from the group once the ride started. i waited behind until most of the group fled from government center because i like to watch the sea of cyclist descend thru the streets of downtown like a military troop going into battle, well maybe not as organized as that but you catch my drift. anyhow, once most of the riders had gone i followed at a slow to moderate pace, figuring i could always catch up. i noticed this girl that lagged behind once we came down the bridge on flagler not even a mile from our starting point. trying to be nice and courteous i waited for her and when i noticed she didnt have a light i stayed behind her, once again figuring we'd catch up with the group. not having "studied" the route i thought the group made a right when in fact they kept on straight. not being sure i sped up to make sure and when i didnt see anyone i admitted my mistake and apologized to the girl for making her go the wrong way so we turned around. mind you it didnt take me but a minute to figure out my mistake. but even a minute is a long time when your trying to catch up to people on bikes.
after that we needed to pick up the pace abit so that we could have a chance of catching up. however, my companion did not at all seem to mind as she was riding as leisurely as someone riding in a park on sunday morning. everyone knows that flagler on a friday at 7 pm is hardly a sunday ride. i wanted to be riding in a group where we would be safer because cars have no choice but to pay attention when there are 100+ bicyclist, not just two. i might add that 4 or 5 others that had lagged came up behind us quite fast, obviously trying to catch up as well. they were riding as one should ride when your trying to catch up.
not seeing the flashing back lights of the group and having a passerby yell that the group made a left i called mario to see where they were. he told me they had made a left on 37th and we were headed to 42nd. my patience wearing thin with my lax companion, i told her we needed to make a left on lejuene because we had missed our turn. i decided that maybe if i set the pace she would keep up so i took the lead and we rode on the side walk because the cars were flying on the road and honestly i was pretty scared to get hit. had i been alone and known the area better i would've opted for neighborhood side streets where the flow of traffic would've been better.
on i rode at a moderately fast pace trying to catch up to the group which i heard was on ponce de leon by this time. after some time i finally saw them make a left onto the street i was on. upon seeing them and knowing which way they were headed i stopped at that corner and waited for my fellow straggler. she was nowhere in sight. i thought perhaps i rode abit too fast for her to keep up and felt a little pain of guilt rush in my gut. i kept looking and waited for a couple minutes and when i didn't see her and felt that i waited long enough i darted ahead once again trying to catch up to the group. this time, sure that no one was following me, i sprinted down lejuene as fast as my legs would pedal. getting stopped by a red light on bird and not seeing where the group went i lagged behind yet again. by the time i reached us1 i was completely lost from the group. once again calling mario, who had no idea where they were at, had patti call me and set me right with they're whereabouts which was once again 37th, crossing us1, going into coconut grove. now i was on 42nd and us1. they were but a few blocks up the road from where i was. so what do you think this intelligent, capable being who managed to find addresses in faraway cities across the country when he was a tour manager for a band do? he went the wrong way. in the famous words of homer simpson...d'oh!!
finally getting close to sunset place and realizing yet again another blunder on my part, i made a u-turn and booked ass back. made a right on ponce, came up to a red light and was unsure of where to go. i stood at the intersection looking for blinking red lights which were no where to be found. i felt like ralph macchio in crossroads when he's waiting for the devil to roll up to make a deal with him for guitar skills. finally i decided on going straight into the grove. then i heard someone call my name and saw omar and rod on the sidewalk fixing a flat tire which was a relief because i welcomed the break from hauling ass and the company. whats equally great is how my friends and i, for the most part, try to be prepared and carry a spare tube, tools and a pump wherever we ride. if you don't i highly recommend it. don't expect others to help you out of a jam. be as self-reliant as possible.
so finally, after getting hassled abit for apparently taking up the whole sidewalk we were on our way but had to ride slow because we couldn't pump enough air into rod's tire. in which case we decided to take the metrorail back to government center instead of continuing on bikes. by this time however the group had already made it back and the ride was over. needless to say i was kind of relieved when i boarded the train to start heading back to hialeah.
once we got to okeechobee station, mario and i decided to ride to miami lakes to meet up with francis at this restaurant/bar place called el pimiento where she was hanging out. we decided to take back streets and avoid the main streets for obvious reasons. on one of those quiet streets we came upon a van making what seemed like a right, going in the direction we were heading, to then switch and start going left to then a complete u-turn. mario asked if this guy had seen us and i answered "yea dude", thinking he did. i guess he didn't because he hit me and in turn my front wheel hit mario's back wheel and next thing i knew we were falling. luckily, the van wasn't going fast so it was more of a tap than a hit. after assessing our well being, and that of our bikes, we proceeded to verbally nail into the driver who was really apologetic and scared that something had happened to us and/or our bikes. i think what saved him from getting his ass whooped was the fact that he was aware that he had done something wrong and was in no way trying to pawn it off as our fault. he was in amazement and kept asking where we came from. in the end it turns out that him being on the phone prevented him from paying full attention to what he was doing, which was driving a very large vehicle.
because neither one of us was hurt and our bikes didn't get banged up i can laugh about it and add it to my collection of good stories of things that have happened to me. had the outcome been different i probably wouldn't be writing this post now. so let this be a lesson to all those out there reading, please exercise caution while operating a vehicle and talking on your cell phones. me included. we all text or talk on the phone while driving and it really does take your attention away from the road. all it takes is one second and you and someone else life can change forever in a bad way.
so that was the adventure. mario and i eventually made it to el pimento and i hung out for abit. i drank some much needed water then rode back to the shop to get my car and finally drive home, which i was very glad to do so, btw.
here are some pics.
this is on the second level of the parking structure at okeechobee station. i will be filming my weekly talk show here soon entitled "hobo talk". stay tuned.
rod's red cross bike. yes, it saves lives.
two pals talking about bikes.
some dude riding the rail with us. i love sneaking pics of strangers. i tried to get the guy to my right but he busted me and gave me a look that said "take my pic and you will die". loud and clear, buddy. now your not on my blog. thats your bad.